In my book Power UP: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy, I feature 27 incredible women business leaders, who I like to call the #PowerUPWomen. Their tenacity, intelligence, hard work, and drive have made them some of the most powerful women I’ve ever met.
Gina Bianchini is one of those 27 #PowerUPWomen. She is the founder of Mighty Networks, a company that allows individuals to create their own social networks for their fans and followers. Before that, Gina cofounded Ning, a pioneer of the custom social media realm, allowing users to create their own niche networks. Ning eventually grew to 90 million users across 3 million social networks. Basically, Gina has been a social media power player since the beginning.
In Power UP, Gina spoke to me about some of the very real challenges women face in their careers, including networking. We discussed how difficult it can be for women to network with both men and women when they are working full time and also have a budding family.
“The constraints are real,” Gina says. “At marrying and family stages it becomes much more uncomfortable to network with men in the same way you can with women.”
One way Gina gets around potentially awkward and uncomfortable networking situations is by planning meetings with multiple people. The day we spoke, Gina had scheduled drinks with two men, but one was unable to make it. Instead of canceling, she called the person she was meeting and asked, “Who else should we invite?” He suggested someone she hadn’t met before, and Gina was able to make a new contact.
In doing this, she avoided a potentially uncomfortable meeting and was able to network with two people without having to allocate more of her time.
However, not all networking situations can be handled so simply. For example, conferences tend to be male-dominated — so bring a friend.
“You don’t excuse yourself—you find someone to bring to the party,” Gina says. “That person is your wingman.”
It doesn’t matter what gender this person is, they simply need to be someone who supports you, is able to provide you with some comfort in awkward situations, and ensures you never feel left out or insecure.
If you don’t have this person in your life already, keep looking. As Gina points out, they do exist! You just have to find each other.
You can learn more about Gina’s tips and experiences by reading my book, Power UP: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy.
#PowerUPWomen are tenacious, driven and fiercely ambitious. They are women on journeys to success in their chosen fields, regardless of the obstacles and challenges that come their way. These women are Powerful. They are Resilient. They are Forces in their own right.
Share your own stories of the powerful, resilient women in your life by using #PowerUPWomen on social media. Let’s share more valuable lessons and tips with each other on how to succeed, even when it feels like the world is against you.
I can’t wait to read and learn from your stories.